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Freesail99 03-26-2007 12:26 PM

Wood Interior Cabin
I am planning on "touching up" the interior wood on my boat. Maybe a little more then touch up ....
The wood is African mahogany. There are no water stains, but there are holes and scratches that I would like to fill in and repair. I plan on light sanding off the varnish and filling in the holes. What should I use to fill in the holes and scratches ?
A friend also suggested that instead of varnish I use a product called gymcoat, which is used on gym floors. He said he had used it on his boat and it looks great and has held up very well, as it has been 3 years since he applied it. So, I am asking how should I proceed and what should I use ?

Sabreman 03-26-2007 05:43 PM

It requires a bit of elbow grease and time, but is not that difficult to do. My suggestions based on experience woodworking and with my 2 Sabres are:
1. Sand lightly with no coarser than 120 grit.
2. Make sur that you don't sand through any plywood (e.g., bulkheads).
3. For dirty areas, use acetone and a 3M green abrasive pad. It will remove the dirt and won't clog. They can be found at Lowes in the Paint section and look like a pot scrubby.
4. To fill deep holes, mix some mahagony dust (from a sander) with 5 minute epoxy. It will stay put and will match the surrounding area. Test in an inconspicuous area first. For light scratches, either do nothing because the finish will "erase" the scratch or snad until the scratch dissapears. Be careful of sanding through veneer though! For a test, wipe the area with a cloth dampened with paint thinner - it's an approximation of what urethane will look like
5. No real need to sand off the varnish unless it's discolored or peeling. Just sand lightly to remove the sheen and/or dirt/grease.
6. You can use any wiping urethane such as Formby's or Minwax. If you want a real deep finish, Minwax has a number of nice sheens and is readily available. No need for a "marine" varnish since it's interior. However if you're going for a deep finish (e.g., a table) try Minwax Helmsman's Varnish. It's really a urethane but is more flexible than a standard "varnish".
7. For floors, you can use Minwax Helmsman's Varnish. I've had good results with it. After about 3 years, you may need a new coat if it become scratched. But that will happen with any finish.

Good luck! It's worth it.

sailingdog 03-26-2007 09:33 PM

For floors, I'd recommend Ultimate Sole...

Freesail99 03-26-2007 09:38 PM

My floors are also African mahogany, thanks for the tip

Sabreman 03-26-2007 11:57 PM

Sailingdog - I have a previously finished teak & holly sole. I understand that Ultmate Sole can not be used on a previously finished surface. Do you know if this is true and why? I'd hate to mess up a really nice floor. I've had really good results with MinWax Helmsman....

Faster 03-27-2007 12:09 AM

Check out this link:

It contains instructions for applying Ultimate Sole and includes a section on re-doing previously finished cabin soles....

I've ordered some this week and plan to try it out soon.

Sabreman 03-27-2007 12:36 PM

Let us know. It sounds like a great product, but when it comes to finished, I'm REAL conservative.

There is an old story that Leonardo DaVinci painted a fresco with a new technique. The story goes that it was a masterpiece but began to fade almost immediately. I think that it was Giorgio Vasari that tried to fix it but was unsuccessful. I'm off topic, but the my point is that I have a really nice cabin sole and would hate to mess it up by applying it incorrectly. Thanks for the link.

Sabreman 03-27-2007 12:46 PM

Just read the Ultimate Sole application instructions. Pretty simple and the same as I would do (except for the wet sand part) for any other finish. Thanks for the tip.

sailingdog 03-27-2007 02:08 PM

All the boats I've seen that have wooden cabin soles have used it with no complaints thus far. From what I've seen, unlike some other finishes, it doesn't get really slick and slippery when wet.... so your "crack your skull open" quotient goes down a bit. This isn't to say that you can't manage to slip on the stuff... but some of the other finishes turn to an almost ice-like frictionless surface.

Sabreman 03-27-2007 10:34 PM

Amen! The Helmsman's varnish is really slick if you try to walk around in for kids though! Thanks for the tip.

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